Safe Sleep for Your Baby
Doreen McComas, Maternal Infant Health Program Coordinator
One of the goals in our Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) is to talk to parents and caregivers about SAFE SLEEP for babies. Because babies spend a lot of time sleeping, safe sleep is a big priority. Did you know that in Michigan, a baby dies every three days from an unsafe sleep situation? As awful as that statistic is, the good news is by practicing safe sleep, these deaths are 100 percent preventable!
Whether or not you have a baby yourself, chances are you have people in your life who have little ones. Please take the time to understand safe sleep practices and share the information with your partner, clients, friends, and family.
Here are the safe sleep recommendations from the Macomb County Safe Sleep Program:
- Back to Sleep – babies should be placed on their backs to sleep, every time.
- Use a Firm Sleep Surface – a firm crib mattress, covered by a tight fitting crib sheet, is the recommended sleep surface.
- Keep Soft Objects & Loose Bedding Out of the Crib – pillows, blankets, crib bumpers, toys, and other objects should be kept out of a baby’s sleeping environment. Consider the use of a sleep sack instead of a blanket.
- Avoid Exposure to Cigarette Smoke – do not smoke during pregnancy and also avoid exposing a baby to second-hand smoke, such as in the home or vehicle.
- Stay Close, Sleep Apart – sharing a sleeping space with your baby is not recommended. Instead, place your baby in a separate crib or bassinet in the parent’s bedroom. Room sharing can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by 50 percent, and is recommended until the baby is at least six (6) months old, but preferably until the baby is one year old.
- Avoid Overheating – the baby should be placed in light clothing for sleep, and the temperature of the room should be kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
- Avoid Drugs & Alcohol – do not use drugs or alcohol while caring for your baby.
- Offer a Pacifier – consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. The pacifier does not need to be reinserted once the baby falls asleep.
- Breastfeed – consider breastfeeding your baby exclusively for at least the first six (6) months, as this can reduce the risk of sudden infant death by approximately 50 percent.
- Vaccinate – keep your baby up to date on all vaccinations, as this also can reduce the risk of sudden infant death by approximately 50 percent.
- Avoid Commercial Devices Marketed to Reduce the Risk of SIDS – although various devices have been developed to maintain sleep position or reduce the risk of re-breathing, none have been tested sufficiently for effectiveness or safety.
- Avoid Home Monitors as a Strategy to Reduce the Risk of SIDS – there is no evidence that the use of such home monitors reduces the risk of SIDS.
- Avoid the Development of Flat Spots – babies can develop flat spots on their head which are often not serious, but to prevent this, encourage supervised tummy time for your baby.
- Infants Should NOT Sleep in Car Seats, Infant Carriers, Strollers, Swings, or Bouncers – when babies fall asleep while sitting in car seats, infant carriers, strollers, swings, or bouncers, the position of their upper body can restrict their airways. When they fall asleep in these items, they should be moved to a crib, bassinet, or a pack-n-play as soon as possible.
- Make Sure Others Know How to Provide a Safe Sleep Environment – make sure you educate anyone else that may be caring for your baby about how to provide a safe sleep environment.